Archives

Parenting the Gifted

FEELING LIKE A GREAT PARENT

I find myself extremely lucky to have three highly developed children with above average abilities in intelligence as well as motor skills and emotions. The defining trait of my two boys and my little girl is consistently empathy. They are all emotionally and academically intelligent. Their abilities far surpass my ability to fill their brains up with the knowledge that they crave. I spend all of my time trying to do just that. It’s been this way since the day my first son was born. He’s been read to almost every day of his life. He’s been told, shown, and taught to the best of my abilities what is right and wrong, and how to handle different situations properly. His siblings have received the same treatment to the best of my abilities. Motherhood was not a difficult task for me as I took to it in a way that I considered a lifelong plan to develop his and his siblings’ character and their minds. It was all wine and roses watching him develop so profoundly. When he started to have a closer eye on him by pre-kindergarten professionals, by way of PARENTS AS TEACHERS, I started to realize that the massive intelligence we had on our hands was not the norm for most preschool parents.

THE REALIZATION

The DIAL testing they do through parents as teachers is the assessment they use to gauge the kindergarten readiness of a preschool aged child. My son received a 99/100. The highest score possible. This is when everything started to come into light. I was dealing with what the MAPS assessment defined as possibly an actual genius. But with  great knowledge comes great sensitivity.

A GROWN UP MIND AND A SIX YEAR OLD BODY

Day to day living with my son, you wouldn’t really think anything of his superior intelligence, until he opened his mouth. His vocabulary is astounding. His empathy is unmatched by the greater majority of the human population. His calculations, both mathematical and strategic are incredible to watch unwind before you. When you look at the boy, you see the spark of intelligence in his eyes. He has the ability to learn from other people’s lessons and build upon it. As NEIL DeGRASSE TYSON stated on his series “COSMOS”, the unique quality of the human mind that sets it apart from other life on Earth is the ability to recognize patterns. This is what helps us build upon knowledge we have organized in our minds and build upon it. By the standards of my own personal experience, and with no actual bias, believe me when I say that my son is in the upper crust of that trait that sets us apart.

LOW POINTS OF HIGH INTELLIGENCE

If there is anything to the phrase “the smarter you are, the less happy you are”, my household is the most unhappy. There is a real and true love that we bestow as well as show on a daily basis. They are loved and cared for. The only trouble is, when my son has a problem, there is an obsessive focus on negative outcome possibilities. He is constantly troubled by the possibility of a meteoric event, volcanic activity, tornadic storms, or even the spontaneous combustion of a household appliance in the night. Another troubling faction of the gift of high intelligence at such a young age is the inability to express the thoughts going through your head in a way that your speech can keep up with. There are so many hysterical instances where my son cannot explain the way that he is feeling and with the inability to arrange his feelings in a productive way, he is left feeling helpless or out of control of things that happen to him. That is a defining trait of a gifted child. Asynchronous development. His reading level is at about 7th grade, his mathematical ability is about 5th grade, and his emotional processing is at a kindergarten level at times. The amplification of the non-emotional surplus is a serious factor in making the emotional capabilities seem even more lagging than they are.

HOME LIFE WITH A MINI EINSTEIN

My son spends his time cataloging the health points, levels and attack power of different Pokémon. The catalog is in his head. If you have time, and want to learn about Pokémon, he has made videos on YouTube. He is an amazing conversationalist. A true empath at heart he really connects with parables, as well as with plights of his younger siblings. On the flip side, he also has to have ample warning of any events such as turning off a game, getting ready for bed, leaving for an outing. If there is not enough warning on any event he will not be able to adjust in the way he needs to and will become hysterical. He likes to build electronics with a snap circuit kit he received for his birthday. He fills dozens of notebooks with his drawings, writing and highly detailed Pokémon cards he designs himself.

OUTLOOK

Things are getting better for my son. The things that used to be a huge obstacle, such as getting his hair washed or cut, being examined at the doctor’s office, or using a mechanical pencil, they have all become old news. We made the proper adjustments and gave a proper warning for years, and finally, after 6 years, he has overcome most of these things. He does still have a deathly and hysterical fear of insects. He gets inconsolable when he imagines scenarios in which the fire alarm goes off in the house. But we accept his quirks, we adjust our plans to help him cope and proceed as we always have, and I am happy to say that although he does still need insect repellent bracelets to go to the zoo, and I am most likely going to have to do a smoke alarm fire drill to make sure he gets any sleep tonight. I don’t mind adjusting his needs, I never did. But now I can breathe a little easier now that I know, whatever comes this too shall pass.